Washington Times on January 29, 2015, reported that the U.S. military’s close air support specialist, the AC-130J Ghostrider, may be getting a serious upgrade: laser weapons. Excerpts below:
Air Force Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, told a crowd in Washington, D.C. this week that the time was right to explore directed energy weapons for the gunship, Military.com reported.
The defense website said that the Air Force previously looked into the technology before former Defense Secretary Robert Gates scrapped the program.
The AC-130’s history dates back to the Vietnam War, and the base C-130 “Hercules” cargo plane is older still, having first flown in 1954. The gunship has also seen action in During Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The aircraft can fly up to 300 miles per hour, has a range of roughly 1,300 nautical miles, and a ceiling of 25,000 feet.